The Book of Tea: 17

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The Art of Floriculture in the East

Why were flowers born so beautiful and yet so hapless? Insects can sting, and even the meekest of beasts will fight when brought to bay. The birds whose plumage is sought to deck some bonnet can fly from its pursuer, the furred animal whose coat you covet for your own may hide at your approach. Alas! The only flower known to have wings is the butterfly; all others stand helpless before the destroyer. If they shriek in their death agony their cry never reaches our hardened ears. We are ever brutal to those who love and serve us in silence, but the time may come when, for our cruelty, we shall be deserted by these best friends of ours. Have you not noticed that the wild flowers are becoming scarcer every year? It may be that their wise men have told them to depart till man becomes more human. Perhaps they have migrated to heaven.

 なぜ花はこうも美しいのに、不遇なのであろうか.昆虫は刺すことができ、そして最も従順な動物も窮地では戦おうとする.帽子を飾るための羽毛として狙われる鳥は逃げることができるし、あなたがたがやたらと欲しがる毛皮の動物も近づけば隠れるのだ.悲しいことよ.翼を持つことが知られる花は蝶だけである.他は為す術もなく破壊者の前で立ち尽くすのだ.断末魔を挙げれば、その声は我々の耳には届くことはない.我々は静寂の中我々を愛し、奉仕するものに対して残忍であるが、その残忍さのために、最大の友に見放されてしまうときがくるかもしれない.野草が年々少なくなってきているのに気づいているだろうか.彼らの賢人が人々がより人情にあふれるまで地上から去れといったのかもしれない.おそらく彼らは天国へ移ったのだろう.

Much may be said in favour of him who cultivates plants. The man of the pot is far more humane than he of the scissors. We watch with delight his concern about water and sunshine, his feuds with parasites, his horror of frosts, his anxiety when the buds comes slowly, his rapture when the leaves attain their lustre. In the East the art of floriculture is a very ancient one, and the loves of a poet and his favourite plant have often been recorded in story and song. With the development of ceramics during the Tang and Sung dynasties we hear of wonderful receptacles made to hold plants, not pots, but jewelled palaces. A special attendant was detailed to wait upon each flower and to wash its leaves with soft brushes made of rabbit hair. It has been written8 that the peony should be bathed by a handsome maiden in full costume, that a winter-plum should be watered by a pale, slender monk. In Japan, one of the most popular of the Nodances, the Hachinoki, composed during the Ashikaga period, is based upon the story of an impoverished knight, who, on a freezing night, in lack of fuel for a fire, cuts his cherished plants in order to entertain a wandering friar. The friar is in reality no other than Hojo-Tokiyori, the Haroun-Al-Raschid of our tales, and the sacrifice is not without its reward. This opera never fails to draw tears from a Tokio audience even to-day.

 植物を育てる人について、彼らは大いに結構なことである.植木鉢を使うものは鋏を使うものよりも人道的である.水と日光に気を配り、寄生虫と反目し、霜を恐れ、蕾が膨らむのが遅いときの不安、葉が輝くときの歓びを見て我々は嬉しく思う.東洋では草花栽培の技術はとても古いもので、詩人の植物に対する愛情と愛好するそれは、しばしば物語に記録されたものである.磁器の発達とともに唐と宋王朝の間、我々は素晴らしい容器が作られたようだ.それは植木鉢ではなく、宝石を散りばめた御殿であった.特別な従者がそれぞれの花に派遣され、花ごとに仕え、兎の毛でできた柔らかい刷毛で葉を洗うのであった.牡丹は正装した侍女が水をやるべきと書かれていて、寒梅は蒼白の、痩せた僧侶が水をやるべきともある.日本では最も有名な能楽の一つに、足利時代の間に書かれた「鉢の木」があり、貧窮の武士が、凍える夜に、火を起こす燃料がなく、旅の托鉢僧をもてなすため、自分の大事にしていた植木を切った話に基づいている.その托鉢僧は実際には他でもない北条時頼であり、いわばハールーン・アッラシードである.その犠牲は報われることはない.この劇は今日でさえも東京の聴衆の涙を誘わずにはいられないのである.

Great precautions were taken for the preservation of delicate blossoms. Emperor Huensung, of the Tang dynasty, hung tiny golden bells on the branches in his garden to keep off the birds. He it was who went off in the springtime with his court musicians to gladden the flowers with soft music. A quaint tablet, which tradition ascribes to Yoshitsune, the hero of our Arthurian legends, is still extant in one of the Japanese monasteries.9 It is a notice put up for the protection of a certain wonderful plum-tree, and  appeals to us with the grim humour of warlike age. After referring to the beauty of the blossoms, the inscription says: “Whoever cuts a single branch of this tree shall forfeit a finger therefor.” Would that such laws could be enforced nowadays against those who want only destroy flowers and mutilate objects of art!

 繊細な花の保全のため、大変な用心が行われた.唐王朝の皇帝、玄宗は小さな金の鐘を庭の木の枝につけて鳥を寄せ付けなかった.春に宮廷楽団とともに優しい音楽で花を喜ばせたのは彼であった.我が国のアーサー王伝説の英雄である源義経が書いたとする奇妙な札が日本の寺院の一つにいまだ残っている.ある見事な梅の木の守護のためにかけられており、戦時の不気味なユーモアともに我々の心を打つ.花の美しさに言及した後、銘には「この木の枝一つでも切ったものはみな指を失う(一枝を伐らば、一指を剪るべし)」と書かれている.今日、花を滅ぼし芸術を破壊する人々に対してこうした法律ができないものだろうか!

Yet even in the case of pot flowers we are inclined to suspect the selfishness of man. Why take the plants from their homes and ask them to bloom mid strange surroundings? It is not like asking the birds to sing and mate cooped up in cages? Who knows but that the orchids feel stifled by the artificial heat in your conservatories and hopelessly long for a glimpse of their own Southern skies?

 しかし、鉢植えの場合でさえ、我々は人の身勝手を訝しむのである.なぜ植物を植えてあるところから抜き取り、見知らぬ場所の中で開花するようにさせるのだろうか.籠の中の鳥に歌い、仲間と一緒になるよう頼むのと違うのか.蘭があなた方の家の温室の中の人工的な熱によって抑圧され、南方の空をひと目見たいと切なく希望していると誰が知ろうか.

The ideal lover of flowers is he who visits them in their native haunts, like Taoyuenming,10 who sat before a broken bamboo fence in converse with the wild chrysanthemum, or Linwosing, losing himself amid mysterious fragrance as he wandered in the twilight among the plum-blossoms of the Western Lake. ’Tis said that Chowmushih slept in a boat so that his dreams might mingle with those of the lotus. It was this same spirit which moved the Empress Komio, one of our most renowned Nara sovereigns, as she sang: “If I pluck thee, my hand will defile thee, O Flower! Standing in the meadows as thou art, I offer thee to the Buddhas of the past, of the present, of the future.”

 理想的な花の愛好家とは、花の自生する場所に訪れ、破れた竹垣に座り、野生の菊と会話する陶淵明のような人物か、西湖のほとりの梅花の中を黄昏時に逍遥しながら、不思議な香りの中、我を忘れた林和靖である.周茂叔は夢が蓮と混ざり合うように、舟の中で眠りについたと言われている.

 この精神こそ、光明皇后、奈良朝で最も名高い人物の心を動かしたもので、彼女は次のように詠んだ.「もし我が汝をむしれば、我が手は汝を汚してしまう、花よ!草原に立つ汝のように、我も汝を過去の、現の、未来の仏に捧げよう」

わがために 花は手折らじ されどただ 三世の諸仏の 前に捧げん

However, let us not be too sentimental. Let us be less luxurious but more magnificent. `said Laotse: “Heaven and earth are pitiless.” Said Kobodaishi: “Flow, flow, flow, flow, the current of life is ever onward. Die, die, die, die, death comes to all.” Destruction below and above, destruction behind and before. Change is the only Eternal, –why not as welcome Death as Life? They are but counterparts one of the other, –the Night and Day of Brahma. Through the disintegration of the old, re-creation becomes possible. We have worshipped Death, the relentless goddess of mercy, under many different names. It was the shadow of the All devouring that the Gheburs greeted in the fire. It is the icy purism of the sword-soul before which Shinto-Japan prostrates herself even to-day. The mystic fire consumes our weakness, the sacred sword cleaves the bondage of desire. From our ashes springs the phoenix of celestial hope, out of the freedom comes a higher realisation of manhood.

 しかしながら、感傷的になりすぎるのはよそう.奢侈になりすぎずも、壮大になろう.老子はこういった、「天地は無慈悲である(天地不仁)」と.弘法大師は「流れ、流れ、流れ、流れる、生命はとどまることはない.死ぬ、死ぬ、死ぬ、死ぬ、死は皆に訪れる(生生生生暗生始、死死死死冥死終)」と言った.死はどこへいっても訪れる.上下、前後も破滅である.変化こそ永遠である.なぜ生と同じく死を歓迎しないのか.彼らは他方の片割れに過ぎない.梵天の「夜」と「昼」である.古きものの崩壊を通じて、再生が可能になる.我々は死、それは多くの異なる名のもと、容赦ない慈悲の女神を崇めてきた.拝火教徒が崇めたのはすべてを貪るものの影であった.今日の神道日本がひれ伏すのは剣魂の凍てつくような純粋であった.神秘的な炎は我々の弱さを燃やし、神聖な剣は欲望の奴隷を断ち切る.灰の中から天空の希望である鳳凰が生まれ、欲望より解かれた自由から、人類のさらなる自覚が生まれる.

Why not destroy flowers if thereby we can evolve new forms ennobling the world idea? We only ask them to join in our sacrifice to the beautiful. We shall atone for the deed by consecrating ourselves to Purity and Simplicity. Thus reasoned the tea-masters when they established the Cult of Flowers.

 世界の思想を高尚にする新たな形へ進化させることができるならば、なぜ花を滅ぼさないのか.我々は、花に求めるのは、美に対して自身を犠牲にすることだけである.我々は「純粋」と「簡素」に対して自分を捧げることによって行為の償いをしよう.こうして茶の宗匠が生花の法を定めたのである.

Anyone acquainted with the ways of our tea-and flower-masters must have noticed the religious veneration with which they regard flower. They do not cull at random, but carefully select each branch or spray with an eye to the artistic composition they have in mind. They would be ashamed should they chance to cut more than were absolutely necessary. It may be remarked in this connection that they always associate the leaves, if there be any, with the flower, for their object is to present the whole beauty of plant life. In this respect, as in many others, their method differs from that pursued in Western  countries, as it were, without body, stuck promiscuously into a vase.

 茶の宗匠と花の宗匠の流儀を知るものは誰しも花への宗教的崇拝に気づいたに違いない.彼らはむやみに収集するのではなく、各々の枝を注意深く選び、心の中にある芸術的構成を目的として目を凝らすのである.絶対に必要以上に切ってしまおうとする人は恥を知るがよい.この関係において、一つ言っておくと、もし葉があれば彼らは花と一緒に、常にそれを添えるのである.というのは彼らの目的とは植物の生命の全体の美しさを呈示することであるからだ.この観点において、他のものとおなじように、西洋諸国家において追い求めるものと方法が異なり、西洋では花梗だけが体裁なく花瓶に無造作に突っ込まれているのである.

When a tea-master has arranged a flower to his satisfaction he will place it on the tokonoma, the place of honour in a Japanese room. Nothing else will be placed near it which might interfere with its effect, not even a painting, unless there be some special aesthetic reason for the combination. It rests there like an enthroned prince, and the guests or disciples on entering the room will salute it with a profound bow before making their address to the host. Drawings from masterpieces are made and published for the edification of amateurs. The amount of literature on the subject is quite voluminous. When the flower fades, the master tenderly consigns it to the river or carefully buries it in the ground. Monuments even are sometimes erected to their memory.

 茶の宗匠が自身の得心のために花を活けるとき、花を床の間、日本の部屋の上座に配置する.その花の効果に干渉するかもしれないからその近くには何も置かれない.組み合わせに対するなんらかの特別な唯美的理由が無い限り、絵画でさえも配置しないのである.花は玉座に座る王子のように鎮座し、客人や子弟が入室すると、主人へ挨拶をする前に深く礼をして花を称える.傑作の絵画は素人の教化のために出版されている.主題における文献の量は大変豊富なものである.

 花がしおれると宗匠はやさしくそれを河に流すか土に埋めるのである.墓碑はその記憶に対して建てられることがある.

8 “Pingtse,” by Yuenchulung.

9 Sumadera, near Kobe. 神戸近郊の須磨寺のこと.

10 All celebrated Chinese poets and philosophers. 皆中国の有名な詩人、哲学者.

西洋のフラワーアレンジメントも素敵ですよね.きっと天心はそれを知っているはずです.ですが、なぜ彼がここまで東洋の文化を礼賛するのか.彼の文を追いかけた我々ならばもうわかりますね.

 次回で第六章は完結です.残るは第七章.お楽しみに!